I'll Sell the House in Which I Can Live No More - The KTO Theatre





A theatrical séance inspired by the life and works of Czech writer Bohumil Hrabal.
The performers make use of all the possible space in the theatre to introduce the audience to Hrabal’s magic world. On the stage you will see all the most important situations in a human life – birth, baptism, first communion, wedding, funeral, all of it depicted in a light, unpretentious and grotesque form.
This tale is delivered in a way typical of the KTO style: a performance without any words where the actors’ bodies, their movements and gestures and the music are the most important elements.

Since the opening night in 2003 the show has been regularly performed on the KTO Theatre’s stage and taken to many places around the world: Albania, Austria, Belarus, Croatia, the Czech Republic, France, Georgia, Germany, Great Britain, Iran, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Ukraine, USA, not to mention numerous cities in Poland.



"I'll Sell the House in Which I can Live No More" directed by Jerzy Zon is a piece of entrancingly beautiful reality reflecting the spirit of Bohumil Hrabal's prose and achieving it without any words. The phenomenal feature of the show is that we feel the presence of the excellent Czech writer in almost every minute of the performance while no single quote or even word is used. (…)
Together with Zon and his actors we go on a metaphoric journey through life. It may sound banal, but is not. We are accompanied by Hrabal's characters and bits and pieces of their stories. (…) To each stop in the journey Zon gives a new extraordinary dimension of a sacrament. (…)
People in the audience laugh or smile with tolerance. They squint their eves, viewing a mute reality that is universal in its character although burdened with the touch of Hrabal’s pen and "provincionalism". The title as it is, borrowed from the Czech author (and slightly modified by the stage director), bears reference to our constant travel from one stage of life to another. It is just the same in the show. We keep wandering, following Zon, his actors and Hrabal. We laugh, we get moved and wish we would not have to leave that unusual visual reality.

Magda A. Jasinska, "Theatre Journal (Dziennik Teatralny)", Krakow

The inventive originality of Polish company Teatr KTO's nonverbal piece "I'll Sell the House in Which I Can Live No More", subtitled "a theatrical séance", is a fascinating addition to the Fringe Festival. (…) this surreal and often-poignant journey through birth, first communion, marriage, and death relates to Hrabal more through its whimsical tone than any specific attempt at theatrical biography. Knowing your Hrabal won't help much, and not knowing doesn't hurt. "I'll Sell the House in Which I Can Live No More" is a kind of abstract clown show, complete with silliness and pathos. (…) The chiaroscuro of light, wry humor, and dark observation is typical of the Eastern European sensibility. Director Jerzy Zon and his expert company provide a sweet, strange piece of theatre.
Gwen Orel, "BackStage", New York

And this is the essence of the gentleness and the fragile beauty of the one-hour-long performance "I'll Sell the House in Which I Can Live No More" by the KTO theatre – the silence of this realm of the void.
Paweł Głowacki, "Dziennik Polski", Krakow

Jerzy Zon, the creator of this performance, has "confined" his characters in a peculiar "train of life". The sound of the coming train accompanies the entire plot of the show, where we go through the moments of birth, baptism, first communion, wedding and ultimately the time of death. In each scene the actors employ a different range of moods and emotions, embody new characters and swiftly move in the space between the tragic and the grotesque. (…)
In their previous grand, outdoor shows, the artists have shown us how marvellously they can control large spaces, enchanting hundreds and thousands of spectators. This time, we saw them in close-up, so near we could hear their breathing. We saw an extremely subtle emotional and lyrical performance in which words turned out to be completely unnecessary.

Tatiana Poliszczuk, "Dzien", Kiev

Jerzy Zon, co-founder of Poland's experimental Teatre KTO, directs a cast of five for this play. There are no words spoken, instead the story is told through movement and the kind of sounds that sound the same in any language. (...) Marta Zon, Bart Cieniawa, and Grazyna Srebrny have choreographed a near-perfect visual song based on Hraba's writing. (…)
What Zon has managed to get across the strongest is that each of the characters is alone, yet placed in urgent, formalized, and droll relationships with each other. These are lifetimes held together by the five holy rites of birth, baptism, communion, marriage, and death. Zon blatantly recasts Hrabal's world in terms of 500-year-old clowning to point out that this is pretty much what Hrabal was doing anyway. (…)
The beauty flickering throughout the hour is the kind found in furtiveness, in a cup of tea, or in confession.

Susan Gordon, Nytheatre.com, New York

I’ll Sell the House in Which I can Live No More – has been in the KTO’s repertoire for years. Half of the world has seen it and yet it is still worth seeing. It is still not covered with dust. Maybe the secret of the performance is hidden in its universal mode of communication – words are irrelevant and not worth any attention. Gestures, costumes and music suffice to relate the story and enchant the audience. Maybe it is the theme? One cannot talk about life since birth till death in a more universal way. And the characters: mother and father, a priest, godparents, a living gallery of wedding dresses, the mourners. And the prop inseparable to every character – a bottle. Maybe it is the simplicity? The set is made of  just a few suitcases capable of conjuring up almost everything and a stall of a prestidigitator who, if he wants,  can be a Spaniard, a Frenchman or an Italian. Whatever the reason is, it is a fact that I’ll Sell the House … is not ageing, or, one might say, is ageing tastefully, still capable of evoking the audience’s delight, agitation and a long-lasting smile.     
Agnieszka Apanasewicz, mojeopinie.pl, Krakow

The ensemble's performances are dynamic, spellbinding and irresistible. There are constant surprises along the way that will entertain you, draw a tear from your eye, amaze you, and make you leave the theatre with the feeling that you have just seen something exciting and truly magical. Do not miss this show!
Ksenija Horvat, EdinburghGuide.com, Edinburgh

Although it seems impossible to spin a tale of Hrabal without the least piece of dialog, Teatr KTO faultlessly translate the magic of what's been told into bodily expression, into a kaleidoscope of faces and gestures sprinkled with vodka, to the grand baptism accompanied by accordion, to the joy and sadness contained in a quiet funereal sob. The lazy images pulse with music phenomenally selected by Jerzy Zoń – the director of both the theater and the production. Anyone who loves Hrabal's prose, who has wordlessly read more than one story told in the dialect of Prague, of the beerhall, for amateurs of Czech literature there remains a universal tale about human life, colored with a touch of irony and the reflective song of a barrel-organist who is traveling from Mexico to Paris. Without doubt, Teatr KTO's artists have created an enchanting production closely observed by music and silence.
Aleksandra Czapla-Oslislo, "Gazeta Wyborcza", Katowice



Premiere: March 2003
Duration: 60 mins.

Script, direction and music selection: Jerzy Zon
Stage set design: Joanna Jaśko-Sroka
Costumes: Zofia de Ines

Performers: Grażyna Srebrny-Rosa, Marta Zoń/Justyna Wójcik, Sławek Bendykowski, Bartek Cieniawa/Adam Plewiński, Michał Orzyłowski





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